You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2020 04 24Article 933859

Opinions of Friday, 24 April 2020

Columnist: Raymond Ablorh

Whether John Mahama talked or not

Whether John Mahama talked or not, his opponents would've something to say against him.

The same people who would ask for ideas and alternatives from the opposition aren't happy when the opposition leader speaks to the nation. Maybe, they want him to write a letter and send it to the President or the COVID-19 committee instead of doing public engagements.

But, it's understandable. We're in election year and both parties are tactically playing their cards for goodwill and electoral advantage. Of course, the lives of Ghanaians matter but the approach of the fight is beyond merely saving lives. It's about positioning themselves well on their way to the polls.

First, the opposition showed interest in working with government in this fight. Government subtly declined that invitation and so they'd to stay relevant in the fight by creating their own response team.

It would've been very inspiring had the President invited some of the opposition officials who worked on the Ebola case to the COVID-19 committee as a demonstration of our oneness in this battle. But, that didn't happen for obvious reasons.

Had that happened, there wouldn't be a need to form another response team and JM donations could be channelled via the National COVID-19 response team in a non-partisan way.

Had that happened we could've a more united Ghana fighting COVID-19.

We lost that great opportunity because of the partisan interests in this battle.

The incumbent would like to take all the glory in our collective success should we win. In fact, the glory would still have been for them even if they invited the opposition because inviting them and working with them is a sign of great leadership.

But, again, the opposition too could do partisan politics by highlighting their contributions and making it look as if the incumbent is bereft of ideas and without them and their ideas we couldn't succeed.

For instance, when Government took the electricity bills of citizens, they claimed that JM's suggestion: "JM had to tell them what to do..." With this attitude, you don't expect the incumbent to pay attention to JM unless what he's suggesting will benefit them more.

Historically, in elections years, our governments overspend for obvious reasons. With the coming of COVID-19, the incumbent certainly have got the opportunity to overspend legitimately. Calling for free water, electricity, food, etc., is in their political interest. It's something they may be already thinking about so they'll jump at it to squeeze it of all electoral benefits.

Additionally, beyond endearing themselves to citizens at no significant financial cost to them privately, they also have the opportunity to steal some money in this fight for their campaigns.

Another advantage the incumbent has is to use COVID-19 as a cover of their failings in various areas. And, trust me, they'll use that.

John Mahama himself would've used that just as he used the Supreme Court case as time wasting phenomenon that affected his work.

They may not be the same, one is man-made, the other is virus-made but both affected government business. I think that COVID-19 has affected revenue generation than the Supreme Court case did in 2013.

Both parties and their presidential aspirants know what they're doing to take advantage of the situation.

JM has no choice but to engage the people more, offer ideas and solutions, share his views on how government is fighting the Pandemic and provide alternative approaches were needed. Doing so effectively will certainly help his campaigns and this his opponents know. That's what they're against.

The main beneficiary of media publicity and benefits is the incumbent hence it's understandable that he needs to buy airtime to do some of these engagements which, he's doing.

I doubt then candidate Nana Akufo-Addo would've been silent in a situation like this. He and Bawumia would've given more fatal partisan jabs than we're seeing from their opponents. All the things they're praising today would've been scrutinised and condemned.

All what they don't see as a case of incompetence today will be treated as incompetence, mediocrity and cluelessness.

They'll tell how irresponsible the incumbent is for not giving the NCCE and ISD adequate resources to educate and inform citizens. They will do more than JM and the NDC are doing for obvious reasons.

We know them from titi. We saw what they did in 2016. They even said it's an act of mediocrity to commend the incumbent for doing what they're employed and paid to do. Today, they're asking for commendation for their positives as if they're no positives from 2009 to 2016.